One Simple Word
SO WHENEVER YOU FEEL drawn by grace to the contemplative work and are determined to do it, simply raise your heart to God with a gentle stirring of love. Think only of the God who created you, redeemed you, and guided you to this work. Allow no other ideas about God to enter your mind.
If you want to gather all your desire into one simple word that the mind can easily retain, choose a short word rather than a long one. A one-syllable word such as "God" or "love" is best. But choose one that is meaningful to you. Then fix it in your mind so that it will remain there come what may.
This word will be your defense in conflict and in peace. Use it to beat upon the cloud of darkness above you and to subdue all distractions, consigning them to the "cloud of forgetting" beneath you. Should some thought go on annoying you demanding to know what you are doing, answer with this one word alone. If your mind begins to intellectualize over the meaning and connotations of this little word, remind yourself that its value lies in its simplicity.
Do this and I assure you these thoughts will vanish. Why? Because you have refused to develop them with arguing.
Taken from The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling, originally written in Middle English in the fourteenth century, by an unknown author; translated and edited by William Johnston (New York: An Image Book, published by Bantam Doubleday, Dell, 1973), p. 56.